Serving in the Mexico Mérida Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

...but I am just doing it

Hola familia!
Lia's first native companion, Hermana Torales

Soy en Mexico.  I am doing okay!  I've learned that I can talk to people and people can talk to me and I can be friends with people even when we don't speak the same language. I'm pretty sleep deprived because we didn't sleep the night we left the CCM and then we got to the mission pretty late and woke up extra early.  I love my hamaca (hammock) and I'll try to send pictures soon. They let us pick out our own hamacas the first night so I will just take it with me everywhere I live. Mine is stripes of different colors with gold specs that remind me of the wheat dream from Joseph, King of Dreams.

The city is beautiful. The first thing I thought when we got here was that I already feel like it's my new home. Even though it's a big city, the people here aren't very wealthy so it has a very different feel from a city like New York or Seattle. People say hi to us when we say hi to them. It's a lot older than I imagined it but it's really endearing-- I'll send pictures on Monday.

I love my trainer, her name is Hermana  Torales and she is the boss of the whole mission. She really has her act together (We both use lots of different colored pens) and I LOVE her. We work all day. :) She is 28 and pretty much my mom.  I spend an hour a day teaching her English and she really wants to learn. It is a mission mandamiento para las chicanas (a mission rule for the sisters). We're thinking about starting up an English class to find some new investigators. We really are the FIRST group of gringas in 20 years!

Last night on our way to una cita a la casa del Obispo (appointment at the bishop’s house), we passed an older woman mopping an empty house and after we passed her Hna Torales said, "Do you think she needs help?" and when we asked her she said no, but Hna Torales picked up a mop and started helping her anyway. So we al mopped and squeegeed for a few minutes. I'm not really sure what they talked about until Hna Torales invited her to learn more about Christ and then I was able to bear my testimony. The woman was named Mary and said she couldn't hear the discussions for some reason I didn't understand, but I could see in her eyes that she really was searching for it and Hna Torales could too.

We sang 'Venid a Mi' for her and it was such a serene moment because Hna Torales teaches with such a powerful spirit and you could tell everyone could feel the Spirit and when we talked and sang it echoed in the empty house (all the houses kind of feel like bathrooms because they are all bathroom tile and none of them have much furniture except for a sink) and the night was so peaceful and quiet. We gave her a number and a pamphlet and we're hoping she'll call us. I was so touched by Hna Torales example. She really gets why she is here and is not dissuaded by anything and so inclined to love others.  I want to be like her!

My mission president is fantastic and I've realized my violin is going to get a lot of use (including at my first baptism on Sunday!). He and his wife are just beautiful loving real people, plus his wife speaks English. They live in a really nice part of town and have a fancy white stucco house and a fountain and all that. We ate breakfast at their house.

I haven't lost all my English already, it's just tricky to type on these keyboards and I can't tell whether something is misspelled because the computer says everything is misspelled, so I'll have to ask Mom to employ her editing skills. Gracias.

It's pretty exhausting to have to work so hard to understand anything, and even then not catch most of it, but I am just doing it. Whoa, I am a real missionary. Que cosa!

I loved our call and I love you all!
Con carinos,
Hna Ludlam

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Speaking of happy...

Hola Familia!
Hermanas en pajamas

Herman Rivera and our district

Over the river and through the woods, to MTC West we go... 
Muchas sorpresas para ustedes...

UNO: I performed in devotional and it went SO well and... Brooke illicitly recorded the whole thing on her camera! She said she'll send it to Tiffany to send to you. I'm so glad that memory was preserved AND that you'll get to see it!

DOS: I hope you guys don't have anything big planned for family night BECAUSE... I get to call from the airport Monday night!! For as long as I want! (which is really as long as I have during a layover in Houston). I will call around what I THINK is 7 pm your time (they didn't put time zones on my flight schedule), so just hang out around the phone an hour or so before and after that. AND-- I have 500 minutes on my calling card, but each time I make a call it uses up 130 minutes, including if no one picks up the phone. So please be there! And please all compose brief autobiographies of your life for the past 6 weeks because I'll probably have time to talk to you each individually. I am SO excited to talk to you all.

Yesterday was In-Field Orientation. Man, I am really not sure how I am feeling right now. The orientation really said to me: Wow, missionary work is REAL. This work changes EVERYTHING. But at the same time, I realized: The fact that I am a missionary is real-- I am ACTUALLY going to be in the field in 2 days and even though I have all of these dreams of what a hard-working and unconquerably faithful and love-driven and converted and miracle-working and consecrated missionary I want to be, I worry that I will have all these expectations and then the field will be nothing like I think it will be and it's scary. What if I fizzle? There are so many missionaries that fizzle. I know that what God wants is definitely what I want right now, but that's while I'm here in a cozy, temperature-regulated, spiritually-saturated, safe, friendly MTC. In the field it's going to be hard and I guess I just don't know how I will respond. I've never really had to do hard before. 

Luckily, I have also been thinking all the time about faith for the past week and how much of a decision it is. So I'm deciding right now that even when it gets hard and I'm not really sure that I actually want what God wants, I'll choose to want what God wants. And then do it. I'm fasting today (both of our companionships are) that I'll be able to start out my mission with that kind of faith and then keep it. I really don't want to make or accept any greenie excuses for myself at the beginning, like "It's okay because I'm new..." (Hno Ralphs has been warning us about how the other missionaries tend to put us into the 'greenie mould' and excuse us from not being the best missionaries ever that have the power to change our entire mission). Mom, can you find a Jeffrey R. Holland quote for me and post it on the blog? It starts with "The spirit of this work is urgency" and then ends with something about "Having to live in such a way that we can't do it alone anymore." it sums up very much the kind of faith I want to have.

Also this week, I've been thinking a lot about positivity. More than one person has told me that they don't see me get excited very much, and I keep thinking: "What?! I feel excited and happy ALL the TIME! I love everything!" I'm starting to think maybe I have a facial disconnect with my emotions or something, that I just don't convey very visually or audibly how I'm feeling. It reminded me of when you used to ask me if I was upset about something, Mom, and I would have no idea what you were talking about. So I've started trying to consciously put a more positive look on my face all the time-- not like a cheesy smile or anything, just a few degrees on the corners of my mouth to brighten my face and smile a little when I'm talking to people.  The gospel is serious business, but it isn't somber and sometimes I think I'm a little too somber. I want the people I teach to understand the depth of the joy that the gospel brings to my life. I want people who aren't even talking to me but just see me to think 'Why is she so happy? I want whatever she has in her life that makes everything so great.'  Plus, I think people just like to be around you more when you have a happy spirit (so they'll think you're normal and likable enough to refer their friends to you). 

Did you know babies instinctively smile? It's not just a learned trait from watching other's reactions because even babies born blind grow up smiling when they're happy.

Speaking of happy, I realized what a big deal it is to keep letters home positive. Hermano Ralphs showed us a letter he got from one of his friends on a mission that was just awful and really actually depressed me. Of course a mission will be hard but if it's for the Lord and for the purpose of HELPING people then it's always a positive thing. Plus, we've been told several times how we're supposed to use letters to do missionary work at home, too, and give 'the mission experience' to the people we left behind. So if my letters ever get negative, call me on it. And THANK you to all the wonderful people who write me such uplifting letters! It makes a world of difference.

I've been looking at our Christmas card and the pictures you sent and thinking 'all of my sisters are so BEAUTIFUL. I think if saw any of them right now I'd probably start crying.' My parents are beautiful too. :) And Grant. You're a stud. Can Grant get skyped in? Or maybe a conference call? Also, can Mom or Dad email back as soon as you read this so I know if I need to call after a specific time and so I know you know?

Thanks for sending the album and the picture of Agee, Mum. Agee you be rockin dat doorag. And thank you for writing a beautiful letter to me. Really, a picture in an email makes my whole week. I didn't realize I'd want them so much.

I heard Merida hit 112 degrees in the past week.

Oh, Ava-- you will be so proud of me. I have finally joined the legion of sophisticatedly-tied scarf-wearers. Sister Gurney was the nicest person ever and sent me a beautiful red scarf as an early Christmas gift (please tell her how much I liked it) and so I asked my pinterest-conscious roommates to show me some ways to tie it. And now I feel like I've moved up a social class. I think I'll wear it as a belt in Mexico. It also has a little tag on it that says 'Do everything in love. Also, Ava, your last DearElder got cut off a few paragraphs in.  :(

Thanks for sending the Burrito music mom-- Grant was awesome to send me the lyrics to all the verses and then I was thinking 'Oh, I wish I knew exactly how the song went' and then two days later Mom sends me the music! Now my companions and I sing it whenever we're walking places ('Si me ven, si me ven, yo camino a la cena').  And thanks to my svesters for the lovely notes and Squid-relics. Much appreciated. The only thing better than getting DearElders from you all is getting real letters--with your real handwriting.

Oh, I wish I could see the tulips! It is like a little bit of Bellevue we brought with us... where are you planting them? Just by the street or around the house? Yay I'll be coming home in tulip season!

This letter was a little lengthy, sorry-- I have twice the writing time because it's our last p-day before we leave and I'm just a little excited leaving for my real actual mission in TWO DAYS! My next letter will be as a real missionary in Mexico...

The field is white ALREADY, y'all! It's harvest time!
Hermana Ludlam

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Travel Plans Received! One week to go...

Hola familia querida!

Oooh… I got my travel plans yesterday! I am ACTUALLY going to serve a mission. It's weird how even in the MTC that still seems like something way far off-- but actually it's in a week. My plane leaves at midnight and I get to Merida 9 hours later. That's really not too bad.

Will you tell Agee how deeply, deeply I was touched that she sent me her journal? As I was reading it, I just had all this irrepressible joy surge up in me because I could tell how happy she was. I loved it. I am trying to write tons of letters today so I will write back to her ASAP.

Mum, I feel this special connection with you every time I go to watch the broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word on Sundays. I think "I bet Mom is listening to this same thing right now." Did you hear the Veteran's day program last week?  I wish you could have SEEN it because that last number with the bells was a visual phenomenon. They brought in this whole troupe of bell ringers that took up three or four tables the length of the stage-- probably 40-50 people, all in sparkly red tops and three or four different types of bells each. It was so cool to watch-- it was so intricate and they were really getting into it. Do they post those broadcasts?

I am so glad I have music. Music and the Spoken Word is one of the highlights of my week because I don't get to listen to much other real music besides hymns we sing as a class. I've also realized how much playing the violin is a part of my SOUL-- I get this incredible feeling of comfort and peacefulness every time I get a chance to practice. I think "Oh, I missed this."

OH!! GUESS WHAT!! Not ONLY do I get to play at the Sunday MTC Devotional this week, I get to play TWICE! They wanted to use our 'Savior, Redeemer of My Soul' number for the Incoming Missionary Meeting too. I am SO excited because this number is stunningly gorgeous and I love the people I am playing with. We just gel.  One of the elders in our district recorded our practice on his camera, so I'll see if it's possible I can send it to you. Don't tell anyone, but I had a secret jam session with Elder Gonzales last night after our rehearsal and it was the best, where we were just both making it up and going with whatever and I realized how much I miss music people. I love music people.

The Savior, Redeemer number is the same one they play wrote for '17 miracles' and 'Joseph Smith the Prophet'. The words and the melody and the accompaniment are all so inspired. Also, I get to sing a duet of 'In Humility, Our Savior' with Hermana Jones in sacrament meeting this Sunday. Man, Heavenly Father is so nice to me letting me do all these wonderful things. 

Can someone please send me pictures of Ava's hair?! You tell me how cool it looks and then I can't see it! Also, do you have the lyrics to Mi Burrito Sabañero? I keep wanting to sing it, but I don't know how...

So, I read Grant's suggestion about the scripture cases after I bought them.... but I do really like the ones I bought. They're the woven kind so they're fun but they're also really nice and conservative. And I'm not beating up my scriptures anymore. I bought cover-covers for each book, but then I also got a bag to fit them because I can't carry my backpack to meetings or sacrament meetings, so I'll be able to take a smaller bag with scriptures and it will fit a few other things too. Jenna, thank you for offering to make them though! I wish I had known before I bought them! 

Aw, I had a beautiful conversation with Morgan (Lia’s cousin going to Mexico, too) yesterday during gym while we watched other people play volleyball. We talked about our lives and our families and I just love her like none other. 

Good news, though, I really am starting to love a certain person more. I like that 'cleave unto charity' verse in Moroni-- because when I really look and am in tune with the Spirit, Heavenly Father shows me the good parts in him. I really see how great he has the potential to be. And then I just ignore the other parts. It's AMAZING how Heavenly Father can make that happen! He actually helps me be more like Christ!

I've been thinking a lot about the process of how Heavenly Father teaches us and guides us. I watched a David A. Bednar talk about 'Following the Promptings of the Spirit'. A few years ago, Elder Bednar was at a GA conference with Elder Packer, in which Elder Packer reminded him about the time when he had visited Elder Bednar as a missionary in Germany (Elder Bednar was the missionary assigned to help Elder Packer (still a general authority back then) and his wife get lodging in the mission and then continue his way to Eastern Germany by train.) Years later at this conference, Elder Packer told him about how the 20 marcs Elder Bednar had given them last-minute (a lot of money) that had saved their lives (you'll have to read the whole story).

The thing was, Elder Bednar didn't ever remember giving them the money-- he assumed that if that was really what had happened, he must have just thought "Oh, they'll need this money for food or something." He said he had no indication at all that he was receiving a very important spiritual prompting-- he was just doing what seemed like the sensible, good thing to do. He said that's how most spiritual promptings come. The Holy Ghost really is a guide to direct the way we think, we don't have to know we're receiving a spiritual prompting or seek one.

I was very struck by this because I thought: "Isn't that like Heavenly Father manipulating our minds-- giving us thoughts of what he wants us to do and we don't even know it? Isn't that taking away our agency?" And then I realized: "No! That's the amazing thing! Heavenly Father will guide our every action and effort if THAT'S WHAT WE WANT. If what we WANT is to do His will, that's exactly what He will enable us to do. If we don't want what He wants (which is to make us better), then he won't. He won't give us anything if it isn't what we want to be happy." I've been thinking a lot about our decision to want what God wants. It's a lot better idea than what we want. It takes faith to believe that sometimes.

Jeje, Elder Randall in our district loves superheroes and has been assigning everyone in the zone to be a certain superhero-- then he draws murals of us on the whiteboards. His girlfriend also sent him these Batman socks with little capes on the heels and he wears them for our four square tournaments. (I never knew how big four square was in the MTC-there our days when no one in our entire ZONE is doing anything during gym besides playing four sqaure. It's like our zone bonding activity.)

Hey how is Harlan? Do you know if he's going to write?

Mucho amor,
Hermana Lia Ludlam

Saturday, November 9, 2013

On the way home from the visa trip...

Back row, L t R: Wilson, Skinner, Graf, Karchner, McBride, Hintze
2nd row:  Beard, Garner, me, Carr, Winn
Front: Randall, Evelynn
Hola Queridos!

THANK you for the package! I used everything in it within the first 24 hours. And thanks for thinking of last year's Christmas card. I got the card on the day it started snowing. Was that your guy's Halloween candy that you sent?  :)

And THANK you for your letters. You guys are very good writers, I love every word you send. The wedding sounded like such a happy celebratory event and I'm glad it turned out so wonderfully. Weddings are good. And thanks for the pictures!

I got my visa this week in Salt Lake. It was a slightly traumatic experience--- not any problems getting the visa, but on the way home we had 40 minutes to wait for the train and I had to use the restroom, so we went to the closest building which was a dialysis institution way down the street. Standing in the doorway was this security guard yelling at a patient in a wheelchair and his caretaker, so Sister Carr and I skirted around them and found the bathroom. But as soon as I started walking back out, this same security guard has grabbed an old guy that just walked in, and he starts screaming and swearing at him and slams him up against the sliding doors, and then puts him in a headlock and throws him to the floor. People are calling the police and yelling and swearing and the doctors are all getting involved. I hide behind the corner til Sister Carr is done in the bathroom. We ask a nurse in the back if she can help us get out of the building a different way so she leads us through all the dialysis patients.

Of all the things that happened, I think the most troubling thing was seeing those patients. There were probably 30 of these sunken, expressionless people sitting in doctors beds. They looked so miserable and part of me was kind of scared of them because they seemed almost not human and the other part of me wanted to go and talk to them and be their friend and do something to help them not be so miserable. The whole trip was definitely a jolt back into the real world, between listening to people's conversations on the train and visiting the slums of SLC and then the incident at the institution-- the whole time I'm thinking "The world is ugly, but the gospel is so happy! It would make these people happy." That's the great thing about the gospel is there's no catch, it's just happy.

Anyway, besides that episode it's been a great week. 

Someone told Sister Winn that drinking apple juice before bed causes vivid dreams, and then her grandma happened to send her apple juice in a package so we decided to run an experiment. Arm 1 will be the control, with just apple juice, and Arm 2 will be apple juice+prayer. We're currently collecting baseline data and beginning preliminary data analyses. We'll let you know.

Sister Garner switched to being Senior companion this Wednesday and that's been a change... I definitely like to be in charge, I've noticed, and she definitely likes to follow. But it's been good. I'm glad we're able to communicate so openly with each other. I'm also glad she learned how to pronounce our last name because for the first few weeks it was just avoided and any time it had to be said it came out as Lud...luum. I can't wait for Mexican people to try to figure it out.

How is Agee doing? Has she been able to make it to church? I've been thinking about how grateful I am that I got to have the experience of knowing her. I remember things from our Sunday nights all the time-- I learned so much from watching the missionaries work with her and seeing the changes in her and from her decision to be baptized. I'm also grateful that my parents made the choice to be good member missionaries and have that happen in our house. That was a really good thing to do.
Oh! Speaking of members! Can you send me a talk called 'Sister Fulcher'? It's a true story about an amazing Sister missionary and we started it in class but didn't finish, and I'm pretty sure I'll want to reread it 20 times while I'm out in the field.

Can you do me a favor and thank Todd Garner in person for the care package he sent? It brought a lot of joy to a lot people, specifically the elders in my district and certain hermanas who have an affinity for pumpkin desserts. It meant a lot.

Any ideas of what to do for a scripture case? They have cool native-looking woven ones in the bookstore, but they come separately for Bible and Book of Mormon and the bigger ones they have only fit English scriptures. I'm trying to think long term of how to keep my scriptures looking nice when they don't stay in a classroom all day. I might just do the separates if I can't think of anything else.

Also, did you ever get in touch with the Petersons in Merida? I'm still trying to figure out if I should pack my coats with me since I am using every inch of my suitcase space with all of the new stuff I got at the MTC. 

This week, I think I learned most about faith than anything else. I realized having faith in the atonement does not just mean we'll be forgiven and cleansed of our sins if we repent. It also means Christ will improve our WEAKNESSES- which are not sins. So when I tell myself, "Oh, I won't be good at talking to people, or connecting with people, or being an instrument of the spirit" that's really denying the gift of the Atonement. Christ is there to make us not only clean people, but cooler people (or people who are coming closer to what He intended them to be). And when I trust completely that he is able to do that and then work on what he tells me to work on, WOW! I actually get better at stuff! Way better than I would have been able to with just my Lia-self-improving abilities. Christ knows how to make us cooler a lot better than we know how to make ourselves cooler. Qué cosa maravillosa. 

Oh! I bought a camera card reader that actually works on these computers.

I love you all! Go read scriptures.
Hermana Ludlam
The picture is most of my district on our p-day trip to Brigham's Landing. We went to Great Harvest Bread and then Jamba Juice with Elder Wilson's gift card (guess who got pumpkin. :))

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Hola from the West MTC! New Address!

Sisters in the Zone, Lia and Hermana G on left
They told us we'd be living in Raintree, but we're actually in Wyview. I'm living one stairwell over from my old apartment. It is SO nice here-- it's more like a little missionary Utopia than a campus. It's amazing how they converted bedrooms and kitchens and living rooms into a missionary training center.

There are all these cute little pathways and streams and bridges in the Raintree apartments and they look super homey from the outside (although they're falling apart on the inside. :)) The first night in Wyview though, we didn't sleep at all because we practically froze to death, and then we realized that even though we thought the heat was turned on the lever to 'heat' wasn't pushed over all the way.

I live next to Morgan! (her beautiful cousin, going to a different mission in Mexico) I see her all the time! It's fantastic! I also saw two of Grant's friends in the cafeteria. Kevin and the other guy we talked to on Skype. The food here is real food because the chefs are actually culinary students. I like the cafeteria-- it's actually an enormous portable but it feels kind of like a diner. The West campus really is better. "We've found the place which God for us prepared, far away, in the the west."

My address is: 
Hermana Lia Ludlam
2023 N 900 E Unit 892
Provo UT 84602

Thank you for writing to me, fambly (Jenna, where art thou?). I'm putting the last of your letters in the mail today.  And thank you also to the other beautiful people who have written me! Every day becomes the best day ever when I realize "Gasp! We get to check the mail!" I wish I could write back faster but we are only allowed to work on letters of p-day so I do appreciate everything you write, even if I can't respond right away.

Guess where I'm going on Monday... to the Mexican consulate to get my VISA!! It's only the one in Salt Lake but I'm so excited to be on the outside. Actually, west campus missionaries are allowed to go to Brigham's Landing on p-day and today it was GORGEOUS and we walked to go to Burgers Supreme and Jamba Juice. It's weird to realize that the public sees me as a missionary. They give us discounts and the normal people call us 'elder' and 'sister'.

Being in the MTC is a lot more independent than I thought it would be. You have three or four hours a day to sit in your classroom with your district and NOT your teacher and direct your own study. It's definitely not enough time-- I've realized Preach my Gospel should probably be canon. It has the answers to everything. If anyone is planning to serve a mission, just memorize it. I'm so surprised that I haven't burned out yet-- I can definitely tell I was blessed with spiritual and studying stamina. Thanks for your blessing Dad. :)

I LOVED hearing about the baptism. I was walking to class yesterday and I realized "Oh my goodness, Agee is BAPTIZED!!!" It sounds like quite the party weekend. 

There is a sister in my district, Hermana Jones, who was a violin major until she accidentally cut the tendons in her hand a few months ago using a razor blade. But she can still play with all her other fingers except her pinky, so we arranged 'How Great Thou Art' for two violins and played it for sacrament meeting and it was wonderful. Also, she sings, so we're going to audition 'Savior Redeemer of my Soul' for devotional with her soloing voice and me on violin and we're using an accompanist from the MTC. I've also been recruited by one of the elders in my district who wrote his own song he sings and wants music to go with it.  He asked, “Can you play the violin with it?” and so I said yes.

Hno. Ralphs gave me a fabulous quote in our interview and said "if you want to have a marvelous and miraculous experience [in the MTC, on your mission, in your ward, in life], give that experience to someone else. 

Oh, man, the elders in my district are so great, Elder E and Elder H. There are only two of them and they look like they would never be friends in real life, but they do it and they are my heroes. They pretty much show up us sisters. I love how hard and unashamedly they try and how they actually want to be good missionaries so they make it happen. They leave the room to study better, they diligently use the language programs even when all the other elders don't, and they practiced role-playing long before the rest of us figured out how good of an idea that was. They're so bright and beautiful. I just love them.

Another one of Hno. Ralphs quotes is "One missionary can change himself...can change his companionship...his district...his zone...his mission... the world." That has definitely proven true up to the district level. They make us sisters try harder in our district of 6 people. Our zone has some obedience problems (in the districts that arrived before us) and I can see how our district's example has affected them. I don't want to forget how one or two people's examples, even if they look like goody-two-shoes, can make such a difference in other people's lives. 
Happy Halloween from the Zone Elders

Zone at the Temple
How was Halloween?! I am craving pictures of you guys because the album Grant gave to me only has pictures from four or five years ago. For Halloween, I suggested that the four of us dress up as the Elders from our district since two of us are blonde and two are brunette and we all brought glasses. We pulled our hair back in buns and wore white shirts with black skirts and jackets and used scarves for ties. So we still looked like Sister missionaries but still thought we were pretty hilarious. The elders didn't even get it. We had to explain it to them. I wish I could send pictures but these laptops don't allow you to attach things to emails. GAH! 

Something that I've been hit over the head with all week is something I didn't realize I had a problem with until I realized how much better it could be when I fixed it. Summed up it's 'Hakuna Matata'-- There were a whole bunch of different experiences that I don't have time to write, but it was first Brother M, the hipster counselor, who was telling us "If you feel bad about something, you're doing it wrong. Stop worrying about stuff. Stop caring. Just be happy." At first I was thought it was Brother M being slightly off because it's amazing how he just starts talking and works out these super complex thoughts as he's saying them and sometimes I wonder how right he is. Luckily he has a lot of faith and even though he does it all the time, it somehow always works and you can tell it's influenced by the Spirit. Anyways, I realized he was right.

I was sitting in MTC choir and I heard something he had said to me in my interview finally sink in. I heard him saying "Lia, you're okay," except I felt Heavenly Father saying "Lia, you're okay." It was the best feeling in the world. I realized I'm actually living my life right, and even though I'm weak in a lot of areas, that doesn't make me a bad person. I'm not supposed to feel awful about the things I'm not perfect in. It's not a sin to be human.  It's supposed to be a process. Of course, there's that quote (also from Hno. Ralphs...) "The only person's affirmation I trust that I'm doing okay is God's." I can't explain how that feeling is different from an "all is well in Zion feeling", but it is-- and I realized we are here to be joyful, now. And feeling that feeling doesn't make me content with where I am, it makes me want to try harder. The gospel just has so much more light when you let it make you happy and realize you’re progressing instead of stressing out how you're not.  I always thought that was a lesson for old Relief Society sisters, but now I get it.

I LOVE you family!
Moocheesymo amor,
Hermana Lia